Research is a defining characteristic of Australia’s universities. Indeed, to be recognised as a university, our institutions must demonstrate quality-benchmarked research proficiency in at least three disciplines. This structural prerequisite balances the spread of knowledge with, importantly, the creation of knowledge.

For decades, Australian universities have delivered excellence in research and innovation and have advanced a research culture and system that has been responsible for world-leading breakthroughs. In many cases, these truly transformative innovations and successes were not achieved in isolation but were the outcomes of collaborative research efforts both domestically and internationally.

International research collaborations are a mechanism for knowledge exchange, helping to bring diversity in perspective and approach to solving the challenges of our time and generating new ideas for the future. A culture of collaborative and innovative research among Australian universities and their international peers fosters a reciprocal culture of positive transformation. Collaborations of a global nature create positive impacts not just at the institutional level, but more importantly, throughout the broader community.

We only need to look around us and the technologies we use and rely on in our day-to-day lives to appreciate the momentous value and contribution of international research collaborations. For example, silicone hydrogel contact lenses now account for around half of lenses fitted internationally and were made possible through global collaboration and Australian leadership. It is through these types of linkages that unexpected creativity and developments emerge.

In an era where innovation drives competition, development and national prosperity, and where social, economic, cultural, environmental and political challenges are increasingly diffused across geographical borders, it has never been more critical for research to respond—and lead—in a global vein. Australian universities have an impressive track record in this regard and we must continue to ensure that Australia remains a destination and collaborator of choice.

Universities Australia, the peak representative body for Australia’s universities, is deeply committed to emphasising the importance and value of research—at the institutional level and further afield, both domestically and internationally.
We invite you to join with us in continuing to enrich this culture of innovation through collaboration in research. The more we engage globally, the more we all prosper. This must, after all, be the primary objective of research.

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